Gimp Tutorial – Extracting Lace

Gimp Tutorial – Extracting Lace

June 24, 2011
/ /
in News

This gimp tutorial is using  a lace texture, but you could use this technique with many other types of textures.

Every now and then I have to wait for some pages to load due to our slow broadband. During this wait time every now and then I tinker with resources I have stashed on my hard drive. I thought that it would be cool to share the results of my “slow broadband break” the other day!

Resources used: 


Open Gimp & Drag your layer into the editor window or right click>open with Gimp

Select All>Edit>Copy then Edit>Paste As>New Layer

Click on the Eye symbol to hide the background layer

Colors>Desaturate>Luminosity Radio Button

Colors>Curves (drag the little line as shown in 2 spots – to make the background a little darker)

When you are finished it should look like this:

Now we need to remove the background behind the lace.

  • Colors>Color to Alpha>from #000000 (black) to alpha

It should look like this when you are done:

Note: If you would like for the lace to be black, after this step go to colors>invert. I duplicated my layer and did the invert so I would have both white and a black version.

At this point you should probably save your work. File>Save As>Filename.xcf or .psd (to preserve layers)

That’s it! You can add another layer underneath the lace and add a colored background, texture or pattern.Edit: I’ve added this screenshot for those who are new to gimp and aren’t familiar with how the layers dialogue works.  My setup looks a bit different as I changed the way my tools are positioned. By default with fresh gimp installs, I think that the layers dialogue should be visible in the top row of tabs on the dock opposite of your toolbox.

Just look for the layers icon in your set of dock tabs.  At the bottom of this window, click  the icon that looks like a page to add a new layer. You can also duplicate a preexisting layer by clicking on the icon that looks like 2 pictures stacked together.  Make sure you have the layer selected (by clicking on it) when you do this.

Another way to do it is to go to the top, Layer>New Layer or Layer>Duplicate Layer.

If for some reason you don’t see this tab, go to Windows>Dockable Dialogues>Layers.  You can also make the layers tab appear by holding the control key and L at the same time.

To reorder layers, just click inside this dialogue on the layer you want to move and drag it to wherever you would like to position it.

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    1. BHB Kidstyle June 24, 2011 2:15 pm

      Yay! Finally I´ve found a blog that gives Gimp tutorials! – I really like Gimp and can use it pretty well on the basic level but when it comes to layer + I´m a lost person.
      I´m going to dig into your blog and learn.
      Thanks so much! 🙂

    2. starsunflowerstudio June 24, 2011 10:29 pm

      @BHB Kidstyle Ok I added some info to the bottom of the post for working with layers. Hope this helps! 🙂

    3. BHB Kidstyle July 2, 2011 9:23 pm

      Thank you! 🙂

    4. HiddenQuestion January 17, 2012 6:25 pm

      Love Love LOVE the post it was so much help on much more than extracting lace. I used it for that in the beginning, but than I began experimenting with it and oh golly it has proven to be more help than you realize!! Thank You so much for posting this!!!!

      If you would like to take a peak at my blog sometime it would be much appreciated. Its just in the beginning stages and soon hopefully i shall be posting some of my graphic designs(which most would not be possible if you had not posted this blog). Also ill be adding a link to your blog on mine if thats alright helping others find this very useful information.

      Again Thank You


    5. Anonymous March 15, 2015 9:59 am

      Really appreciate this…great help!

    6. Chris Gage May 9, 2017 9:35 pm

      Look how many years later, and this is still incredibly useful. Trouble is I am a complete novice at GIMP and was unable to get the color-to-alpha operation to work. It left the brown background as brown, no matter what I tried

      I am using Gimp 2.8.18 on Windows 10.

      • Susan Smith May 9, 2017 10:16 pm

        Hi Chris,

        Did a little window pop up that shows a color picker? If it shows “from [ ] to alpha” click on that box and drag your cursor to the color black in the color picker. I just tried it on gimp 2.8.20 in windows 10. Hope this helps!

    7. Ramsey December 27, 2019 1:05 am

      Thank you buddy, It’s really helpful tutorial. Here is the GIMP multiple layer selection and layer controlling tutorial. How to make and selection multi layer on gimp. Clipping usa published full tutorial guide about how to select gimp multiple layer when you work.


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